Agate is a translucent variety of microcrystalline quartz. It is used as a semiprecious stone when it is of desirable quality and color.
Agate generally forms by the deposition of silica from groundwater in the cavities of igneous rocks. The agate deposits in concentric layers around the walls of the cavity, or in horizontal layers building up from the bottom of the cavity. These structures produce the banded patterns that are characteristic of many agates. Some of these cavities are lined with crystals and those are known as geodes.
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